Owner of abandoned homes grappling with city for property control

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Housing Authority of Jefferson City announced Monday that a public hearing will be held on Sept. 5 to give a landowner the opportunity to prove that she should retain ownership of two properties. However, the owner has a history of allowing weather, animals and squatters to take advantage of her unattended properties.

The homes that the Housing Authority is working to claim through imminent domain are located at 101 and 105 Jackson Street, which are off of East Capitol Avenue. An urban renewal plan exists for the area, but lack of homeowners' support has stalled improvements to some of the area.

"The overall goal is to eliminate the blight in that area and renovate and rejuvenate the homes," said Cynthia Quetsch, executive director of the city's Housing Authority.

Quetsch says the two homes in the lawsuit are unsecured and unsanitary for neighbors.

"Both of them are boarded up... The city has taken over doing the yard work," Quetsch said. "If the city wasn't doing it, it would be very dangerous in terms of vermin and people being able to hide out."

The owner of the properties, Barbara Beuscher, also owns 27 of the 108 homes, or 25%, currently registered as abandoned across Jefferson City, according to an Aug. 6 Abandoned Homes Report. She also owns over 20 homes in the East Capitol Avenue area, 16 of which are currently boarded up, according to Quetsch and Jayme Abbot, the neighborhood services manager for the city.

Beuscher's attorney did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

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